I haven’t blogged in a long time. For me, writing is very close to my heart. In brings me in touch with who I am and it helps me make sense of the world around me. When sense can’t be made, it allows me to at least express my emotions in the midst of chaos. I don’t know why I have not blogged. I have thought of it every day. Everyday. My confidence in writing has been kidnapped. My ability express my thoughts temporarily hijacked. I have felt like I have had nothing to say…nothing worth any “value.” This morning, I believe I may have turned a corner. Why am I afraid? My words, my writings are me. They are my thoughts and emotions and ideas. And yes that leaves me feeling vulnerable and exposed…but that’s ok. My words have value because they are mine. They may not come out in the most eloquent manner – but according to who?
Over the last many months, I have found such a treasure in reading Ann Voskamp’s words. She inspires and challenges and pretty much blows me away with every sentence she pens. And while I am so thankful for the time I spend reading her thoughts, and for the peace and joy her words bring, I have allowed her words to make me feel like I just can’t write. I have said it jokingly often that after I read Ann’s beautiful musings, that I will never write again. She can make doing dishes sound poetic! But those little quips of mine actually became my reality. I have let comparison kill my desire to do what I love. I will never be a great writer. I will always be…just me. But that’s got to be okay. I love writing. It makes my heart happy. It brings peace to my soul. I can’t allow myself to be shut down because someone else does it so much better. I have to learn to turn those feelings of inadequacy into feelings of inspiration. My thoughts are important – if to no one else – to me. My desire is for my writing, in a way, to be a form of worship to God. I can’t let any feeling of “less than” hold back that desire.
So here I am…typing furiously, tears flowing, convincing myself with my own words that its time for me to write again.
I love vacation. I love the anticipation of a new adventure. This may sound crazy, but I love packing for vacation! There’s something about neatly tucking stuff away in a suitcase in preparation for an exciting journey. But as exciting as it is to load all that stuff into the suitcase, it is just as awful to unpack it. The journey is over…the time has come to do some unpacking. It’s tempting to just leave it all in the suitcase, and I will admit that I have done that after a vacation for a few days…trying to put off the dreadful task.
Recently I’ve faced the reality that emotions have to be unpacked to. They are pretty easy to pack away, but they can’t stay in the suitcase forever…eventually they have to come out. Unpacking emotions -past hurts, fears, memories – is a daunting task. But you can’t live out of a suitcase for the rest of your life. Day to day, life can seem good…can actually be really good, but that baggage is still there and emotions can and will unexpectedly surface.
For the better part of my life I have not been one to tackle things head on. Rather, I chose to stick my head on the sand and wait for things to pass (or hope they would ). Rather than dealing with hurts and emotions as they came along, I would neatly pack them away…for some other time. As I seek God more and more to guide my life, I know that I can no longer function in a healthy way by packing things away. So, as I go through the process of on covering layers of “stuff” I am learning so many things. First, I’m learning to seek and rely on the Spirit to navigate me through the unpacking process. I’m also learning to trust that where God takes me, He will give me what I need to become the person He created me to be. If God is telling me to unpack these past hurts and emotions, then He is going to teach me and help me grow along the way. As He helped me unpack, He is creating more room for me to be filled with His love and hHis Spirit.
The unpacking part of this trip may not be the best part of the journey, but I know that it’s a necessary step along the way and I’m certain that it will be rewarding…living out of my suitcase is no longer an option.
I have never been one to have a big circle of “friends.” Never had real close longtime friends. Sometimes that would bother me – make me wonder what was wrong with me? Or what was wrong the other people that they didn’t want to be my friend. But for the most part, I have been good with not being especially social and kind of being alone. Over the last few years I have done a lot of looking inward and thinking about who I truly am and why I am that way (sometimes being self-aware is no fun). What I have really learned about me is that I have been the one who has chosen to not have friends. I seemingly got along with a lot of people, but rarely let anyone “in” or close. It has been my choice to keep people at a distance. Until now. The relationship that I have with God is all about love. His love for me…and in turn me showing that love to others. You’ve kind of got to be a “people person” to show and share that love. It’s not that I don’t like people, or that now I am faking it. Now that I have truly felt the love of God and have seen it working and alive in my daily walk, I want to share it with others. What has been really great about this growth process is that I have been blessed with some absolutely amazing people to get to know. God brought me my best friend, my ministry/accountability/study partner, and the love of my life – Brian! (I could gush and get all sappy here – but I will spare you…just know I love him to pieces). God has also challenged me to leave my comfort zone and to open up to other new people. I have met some increible women of faith who are genuine and authentic. They love God and during our times together are so real…they share the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am awed that God loves me so much that he has sent me such Godly sisters from whom I can learn so much. I have also been given the blessing of serving many beautiful people who are broken and lost and in true need of Jesus. People who just want to be heard and loved. I love listening to their stories, and sharing mine. God has pushed me out of my “shell” and has given me so much strength. While I don’t feel worthy all all of His blessings and mercy, I am so grateful that He loves me extravagantly enough to not leave me the way I was – but rather to lead me to becoming the person I am becoming…a people person.
Recently I made a day trip to Columbus to attend a workshop for school (people who think that teachers don’t work in the summer are wrong). As I was driving home enjoying the quiet of the car I noticed a GIANT billboard that read, “If you died today, do you know where you would end up?” Less than a mile later was another GIANT billboard that read, “Hell is for real.” I thought about these obnoxious signs most of the way home and for several days since. Now, before I go any further, let me say that yes, I do believe that hell is real and that it is serious, etc. That debate is not my purpose here. Continue reading →
Recently Brian and I started a small group in conjunction with a series called “Fearless” we had been doing at Foundation Community Church. The study is based on a book of the same name by Max Lucado. So far there have been so many things that have really stuck with me. I’ve been asking myself what it is that I am truly most afraid of. Where do those fears come from? And on and on. And as a follow up to all of those questions, how do I react when my fears control me. There is a story of Jesus and his disciples climbing onto a boat one day. Jesus took a nap. While he was sleeping a violent, fierce storm blew up. The disciples immediately questioned Jesus by asking him if he didn’t care if they died. This reaction has always interested me. They knew what he was capable of…they just wanted to know why he wasn’t helping them. They were questioning his character. They were frustrated and angered even. My big take away from this lesson is that Jesus knew all along what was going on. He didn’t “accidentally” fall asleep. He purposely slept – for the disciples to grow in their faith and understanding. It makes me wonder how many times God has gone to sleep so that I could grow. How many times have I become angry at God for seemingly not caring that I was suffering? I know that he has slept through some of my storms so that I would come out better on the other side. That’s a lot of love. I see my responses in the words of the disciples. I have questioned God and his love for me. And through the course of each of those storms, my faith has grown. God loves me enough to sleep through my storms.
This morning one of my co-workers said something to me that has resonated in my head all day long. She was telling me about her break and how nice it was to be off, but that she had had some things on her mind and she couldn’t shake them. She said that she felt those worries and issues had robbed her of much of her time and of her peace. Those words painted a strong mental image for me. And they hit very close to home. How often have I let worries rob me? How many times have my insecurities stolen from me? When was the last time I allowed my fears free reign over my time? That one simple sentence made me really stop and think. It’s not like I wasn’t aware of my fears or my worries. I know they are there, and there are times when they are worse than other times. I had just never thought of the fact that I was allowing those feelings of doubt to take away precious time. I really did some soul searching, and I’m sad to say that I have lost countless hours of my life and my precious time worrying, stressing, and being fearful. Its not rare to hear people say that there’s just not enough time in the day…or if I only had more time. Time is precious. Time is a gift. Time should not be wasted – or stolen – by worries for tomorrow. I’m so thankful for those simple words spoken by my friend. As I strive to be the best version of myself in 2012 and to be authentically me, I will no longer allow myself to be robbed by fears and doubts. Rather, I will focus on being present in each moment I am given.
Today I am feeling a bit guilty. I feel guilty for letting myself get caught up and run down by my “problems.” Guilty for worrying about stuff that really just doesn’t matter. Guilty for allowing the frustrations of my world cause doubt and fear. The reality is that my problems are nothing. While my daily challenges may seem like moutains, they really are insignificant in the big picture. I work with children every day who deal with more than I could even imagine dealing with – even as an adult – and yet they are trying to navigate their way through minefields as children. Continue reading →